US Senate Votes To Protect Same-Sex Marriage

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the media following a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on November 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden met with Senate and House leaders to discuss the legislative agenda for the remainder of the year. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Kevin Dietsch / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

The US Senate passed a landmark bill Tuesday protecting same-sex marriage, as lawmakers from both parties moved to forestall the possibility of the conservative-led Supreme Court taking away this right as it did with abortion.

“With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,” President Joe Biden said in a statement released after the 61-36 vote.

The Senate vote sends the bill back to the House of Representatives, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi said would approve it next week before sending it to Biden to sign.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer hailed a “momentous step forward for greater justice for LGBTQ Americans.”

Twelve Republicans joined Democrats to pass the legislation on what had for decades been a deeply divisive issue in America.

In the United States, same-sex unions have been guaranteed by the Supreme Court since 2015. But after the court’s historic overturning of a longstanding ruling protecting the right to abortion in June, many progressives feared that same-sex marriage may also be under threat.

Democrats have worked with urgency to get the bill passed while they still control Congress.

They held on to the Senate in this month’s mid-term elections but lost the House to the Republicans, although the latter eked out a much thinner majority than they had expected. So when the new Congress takes power in January, gridlock is expected.

The bill passed Tuesday does not require states to legalize same-sex marriage.

But it repeals previous legislation defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and does require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

So if the Supreme Court were to overturn the 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriages, a state that bans them will still have to recognize such unions carried out in other states. The bill also applies to inter-racial marriages.

“Today’s vote is deeply personal for many of us in this chamber,” said Schumer, who wore the same tie he had on at his lesbian daughter’s wedding.

A similar bill was already passed in June by the House of Representatives. All the chamber’s Democrats voted in favor, along with 47 Republicans.

The new vote in the House is needed to reconcile the two bills but this is seen as a formality.

The powerful American Civil Liberties Union hailed the “historic step forward” but denounced the rise of laws attacking the right of transgender people in several states.

“While we welcome the historic vote on this measure, members of Congress must also fight like trans lives depend on their efforts because trans lives do,” James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Rights Project, said in a statement.

Polls show a strong majority of Americans back same-sex marriage but it is still contentious. Thirty-six Republicans voted ‘no’ on Tuesday and the religious right remains mostly opposed to such unions.

Hawaii Volcano Shoots Lava Fountains 200 Feet High

 

Fountains of lava up to 200 feet (60 meters) high have been fired into the air from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, geologists say, generating rivers of molten rock from the world’s largest active volcano.

Four fissures have now opened up on the mammoth mountain, which burst into life on Sunday for the first time in almost 40 years.

Vast clouds of steam and smoke were billowing into the sky from the volcano, which makes up half of Hawaii’s Big Island.

“Estimates of the tallest fountain heights are between 100–200 feet” but most are much smaller, the United States Geological Survey said in an update Monday.

“There is a visible gas plume from the erupting fissure fountains and lava flows, with the plume primarily being blown to the Northwest.”

Geologists say there is currently no risk to people and property below the eruption.

“The longest and largest lava flow is issuing from fissure three,” the USGS said Tuesday.

“This lava flow crossed the Mauna Loa Weather Observatory Road… and the flow front was located approximately six miles (10 kilometers) from Saddle Road (the main road at the foot of the northern flank).”

The lava fountain from the newest fissure was up to 33 feet high, the agency said.

Everything is currently contained in the Northeast Rift Zone, the USGS said, but warned Mauna Loa is a dynamic volcano.

“Additional fissures could open along the Northeast Rift Zone below the current location, and lava flows can continue to travel downslope.”

Pressure has been building at Mauna Loa for years, the USGS said, and the eruption — which lit up the night sky — could be seen 45 miles (72 kilometers) away, in the west coast town of Kona.

While lava is not presently a risk to populations, scientists have said winds could carry volcanic gas and fine ash downslope, as well as Pele’s Hair — fine strands of volcanic glass formed when lava skeins cool quickly in the air.

Named after Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, the strands can be very sharp and pose potential danger to skin and eyes.

‘Long Mountain’

Authorities in Hawaii have not issued any evacuation orders, although the summit area and several roads in the region were closed, and two shelters have been opened as a precaution.

The largest volcano on Earth by volume, Mauna Loa, whose name means “Long Mountain,” is larger than the rest of the Hawaiian islands combined.

The volcano’s submarine flanks stretch for miles to an ocean floor that is in turn depressed by Mauna Loa’s great mass — making its summit some 11 miles above its base, according to the USGS.

One of six active volcanoes on the Hawaiian islands, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843.

Its most recent eruption, in 1984, lasted 22 days and produced lava flows reached to within about four miles of Hilo.

Kilauea, a volcano on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa, erupted almost continuously between 1983 and 2019, and a minor eruption there has been ongoing for months.

US Militia Leader Guilty Of Sedition In Capitol Assault

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 9, 2022 Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, is seen on a screen during a House Select Committee hearing to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) / NO USE AFTER DECEMBER 29, 2022 22:14:15 GMT

 

 

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was found guilty of sedition on Tuesday for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

Another member of the Oath Keepers, Kelly Meggs, was also found guilty of seditious conspiracy while three other co-defendants were acquitted of the same charge, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The verdict capped a nearly two-month, high-stakes trial in which the government sought to prove that the violent January 6 assault, which temporarily halted Joe Biden’s confirmation as president, amounted to a rebellion against the government by Trump backers.


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The five were the first of the nearly 800 people accused in the uprising to go on trial for the hefty charge.

The Justice Department said Rhodes and the Oath Keepers “concocted a plan for an armed rebellion… plotting to oppose by force the government of the United States.”

Prosecutors showed videos of the attack by dozens of group members dressed in military-style combat gear.

But the defendants characterized the case as a political trial carried out by the Biden administration against supporters of his predecessor, Trump.

US Bans Gear From China’s Huawei And ZTE Over Security Risk

This file photo taken on May 31, 2021 shows a Huawei logo at the flagship store in Shenzhen, in China's southern Guangdong province. STR / AFP
This file photo taken on May 31, 2021 shows a Huawei logo at the flagship store in Shenzhen, in China’s southern Guangdong province. STR / AFP

 

US authorities announced a ban Friday on the import or sale of communications equipment deemed “an unacceptable risk to national security” — including gear from Chinese giants Huawei Technologies and ZTE.

Both firms have been on a roster of companies listed as a threat by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the new rules bar future authorizations of their equipment.

The move is the latest in a series of actions to limit the access of Chinese telecom firms to US networks, and comes during a long-running standoff between the world’s two biggest economies.

US officials have shown growing wariness in recent years of Chinese telecommunications companies and technology.

“The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders,” said chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement.

She added that the new rules are a part of ongoing work to guard against security threats.

A Huawei spokesperson offered no comment on the ban when contacted by AFP.

The order also affects other companies, including video surveillance equipment firms Hangzhou Hikvision and Dahua Technology.

The FCC said Friday that it was also seeking comment on future action relating to existing authorizations.

Previously, Washington had banned Huawei from supplying US government systems and strongly discouraged the use of its equipment in the private sector, with fears that Huawei equipment could be compromised by Chinese intelligence.

In 2019, it put Huawei on a trade blacklist that barred US suppliers from doing business with it, cutting off the Chinese firm — also a top smartphone brand — from Google’s Android mobile operating system.

The United States has cited national security fears as well to restrict the operations of China’s big three state-owned mobile carriers.

Sluggish England Frustrated In US Stalemate

England's midfielder #19 Mason Mount (L) and USA's defender #18 Shaq Moore fight for the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and USA at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
England’s midfielder #19 Mason Mount (L) and USA’s defender #18 Shaq Moore fight for the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and USA at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

England missed a chance to book their place in the World Cup last 16 as Gareth Southgate’s side produced a limp display in their 0-0 draw against the United States on Friday.

Southgate’s men would have been guaranteed to advance from Group B with a victory in their second game of the tournament, but they rarely troubled a determined US team.

Having thrashed Iran 6-2 on Monday, England lacked the urgency they showed in their opening game and were booed off at full-time.

They managed just one shot on target and could easily have conceded in the first half when the US were in control for long periods at the Al Bayt Stadium.

For the third time in three World Cup meetings with the US, England failed to live up to their status as favourites.

After a shocking defeat in the 1950 tournament and a 1-1 draw in 2010, this was another defiant American effort against England, cooling some of the hype around the Three Lions following the Iran rout.

Although it was an extremely underwhelming performance from England, they are still in control of their own destiny.

A draw in their final group game against Wales on November 29 would ensure England progress to the knockout stages, while a victory would seal first place.

The US, who have drawn their first two games, play Iran on the same day knowing a win would send them into last 16.

Gregg Berhalter’s group are the second youngest team at the World Cup, but a day after America celebrated Thanksgiving they left sluggish England looking like they were the ones who had indulged in too much turkey.

With Harry Kane and Harry Maguire recovered from an ankle injury and illness respectively, England named an unchanged team for the first time since the 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia.

But, whereas England dominated possession against timid Iran from the opening moments, they found the US far more willing to press higher up the pitch.

Laboured England

The US desire to engage England briefly left space in behind them and Jude Bellingham’s buccaneering run and pass freed Bukayo Saka down the right side of the US area.

Saka’s cross reached Kane, whose goalbound shot was blocked by Walker Zimmerman.

That near-miss proved a mirage in the desert for England as Haji Wright, a surprise selection in place of Josh Sargent, had the Americans’ first sight of goal with a well-timed run into the area for a header that whistled wide.

It was a warning that the US could trouble England and moments later Weston McKennie should have put them ahead.

Timothy Weah’s cross from wide on the right eluded the flat-footed England defence and the unmarked McKennie pulled the trigger from 10 yards, only to fire just wide of the relieved Pickford’s goal.

Showing no signs of being intimidated by England, Berhalter’s side were inches away from turning the enterprising display into a stunning lead when Christian Pulisic jinked into space and lashed a rising drive against the crossbar from just inside the area.

Giving the ball away far too easily and laboured in their build-up play, England looked rattled and Pulisic tested their fraying nerves with a header that glanced wide.

In a rare moment of menace from England, Saka’s pass found Mason Mount and the Chelsea’s midfielder low drive from 20 yards brought a first save from US keeper Matt Turner.

Epitomising the US spirit that was such a contrast to England’s lethargy, Tyler Adams crunched into a tackle on Saka, winning the ball and roaring in delight afterwards.

England remained stuck in first gear yet Kane nearly snatched an undeserved winner in stoppage time when he headed wide from Luke Shaw’s free-kick.

AFP

At Least Six Killed In US Walmart Shooting

 

An attacker shot and killed at least six people at a Walmart late Tuesday in the US state of Virginia, police said, adding the single shooter suspect is also dead.

The mass shooting in the city of Chesapeake comes just before Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and follows a weekend gun attack at an LGBTQ club in Colorado that left five people dead.

“Chesapeake Police confirm 7 fatalities, including the shooter, from last night’s shooting at Walmart on Sam’s Circle,” the city confirmed on its Twitter account.

Chesapeake Police Department officer Leo Kosinski had earlier told reporters that there had been “multiple fatalities” at the megastore, which local media reported was busy with holiday shoppers.

Emergency calls were first made just after 10:00 pm Tuesday (0300 GMT Wednesday) while the store was still open, with rapid response officers and tactical teams entering “immediately” after arriving on the scene, Kosinski said.

Local media reported that witnesses said the shooting began at the back of the store and that at least five wounded had been rushed to the hospital.

Police did not provide any details about the suspected shooter’s identity or how the assailant died.

“We believe it is a single shooter and that single shooter is deceased at this time,” Kosinski said, adding he did not believe any shots had been fired by police.

In the hours afterwards, news footage showed a major police presence around the Walmart, which is located about 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of the US capital Washington.

Kosinski said officers and investigators were carefully sweeping the store and securing the area.

Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, issued a statement early Wednesday saying: “We are shocked at this tragic event.”

The company added that it was “praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates.”

‘Senseless violence’

Virginia state Senator Louise Lucas, who represents the Chesapeake region, said she was “absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place… in my district.”

“I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives,” she wrote on Twitter.

The shooting occurred at a major retailer less than 48 hours before Americans nationwide celebrate Thanksgiving.

“Tragically, our community is suffering from yet another incident of senseless gun violence just as families are gathering for Thanksgiving,” tweeted Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia.

The incident occurred three nights after a gunman in Colorado, in the country’s Rocky Mountain west, opened fire inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring at least 18, in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Authorities said that suspect, identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, had used a long rifle at the club, where partygoers were marking the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which pays tribute to trans people targeted in violent attacks.

Gun violence occurs at an alarming rate in the United States, where more than 600 mass shootings have occurred so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

Biden Turns 80, But White House In No Mood For A Party

 

For the first time in history, a sitting president turned 80 years old in the White House on Sunday but did not celebrate in any public way.

It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that First Lady Jill Biden posted an affectionate message, with two photos of the couple dancing in tuxedos and gala attire.

“There’s no one else I’d rather dance with than you. Happy Birthday Joe! I love you,” Jill Biden tweeted.

It was the sole mention from the White House of the birthday, and with no public event scheduled no indication emerged of how, or even if, the president would celebrate his birthday.


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Just a day earlier, the Biden family hosted a large-scale fete at the White House — the wedding of Biden’s granddaughter Naomi, which was closed to the press.

Biden does have an important matter to discuss with his family in the coming days — whether he will seek re-election in 2024.

He said at a press conference November 9 that he “intends” to run, and said he and his wife will “sneak away” for a week at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas to decide with his family.

He promised to make his decision public in early 2023.

Various recent polls say a majority of Americans do not want Biden to run again.

While influential figures who are over 70 or even 75 years old are ample in the American political landscape, the midterm elections have brought some initial generational change in the Democratic Party.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, 82, announced her decision Thursday not to run for a new term as speaker of the House of Representatives.

Biden underwent a thorough medical checkup about a year ago, and the results concluded that he was “a healthy, vigorous” man who is fit to serve as president.

But the rigors of the Oval Office also have made their mark on Biden, who walks now with a stiffer gait and suffers moments of confusion.

What Could A World Without Twitter Look Like?

(FILES) This file illustration photo taken on August 5, 2022 shows a cellphone displaying a photo of Elon Musk placed on a computer monitor filled with Twitter logos in Washington, DC. (Photo by SAMUEL CORUM / AFP)

 

After another chaotic week of mass staff departures and policy reversals, Twitter’s future seems highly uncertain, with users — and everybody else — increasingly asking one question: What would a world without the so-called bird app even look like?

With about 237 million daily visitors at the last count in late June, Twitter’s user base is still smaller than Facebook’s nearly two billion, TikTok’s one billion plus and even Snapchat’s 363 million.

But in Twitter’s 15 years of existence, the platform has become the predominant communication channel for political and government leaders, businesses, brands celebrities and news media.

Some, like New York entrepreneur Steve Cohn, are convinced the Twitterverse is only an artificial microcosm of the real world, with limited actual importance.

Twitter is “not ‘essential’ in any way,” Cohn declared — from his own Twitter account. “The world works just fine without Twitter.”

Few people actually tweet, he went on. “Almost all tweets come from (the) 1%. Most normals never log into Twitter.”

But for others, including Karen North, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the site is indispensible for bringing light to little-known conversations.

“Most of the time, people without prominence are not heard,” she said. But on Twitter, “there’s the opportunity to announce things.”

In situations of conflict, social movements or crackdowns, “Twitter I think has become the central platform for being able to disseminate the truth and the ground reality,” Charles Lister, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, told AFP.

Like most other social networks, Twitter is also used to spread propaganda and misinformation, and the company has developed moderation tools to try to limit the worst of it.

But their ability to keep up with the demands of such a task has been thrown into question after more than two-thirds of those teams have left since Elon Musk’s controversial takeover.

A 2018 study found that false information circulates faster than posts that have been fact-checked.

“That’s an unrealistic expectation to imagine a platform where misinformation and disinformation is impossible,” Lister cautioned.

But “to see information, good and bad, vanish,” with the potential disappearance of Twitter, “is by definition a bad thing,” Lister said.

“Autocrats and anyone who doesn’t want information widely shared, would potentially benefit from Twitter being gone,” added Mark Hass, a professor at Arizona State University (ASU).

‘Public square’

A Twitter fail could have devastating effects on journalism, experts say.

“Twitter… is really not a social network,” North explained. “It’s a network of news and information.”

“It’s the place, the core hub of where journalists go to get a heads up, or a story idea or a headline or a source or a quote,” she said.

With the reduction of the workforces and budgets in newsrooms, the resources just aren’t there, even at the most well-funded news operations, “to go find sources out in the world,” North lamented.

Twitter, she said, is where much of that work can be done.

Another knock-on effect of a potential collapse of the platform, according to North, is that without Twitter, the world’s rich and powerful stars and politicians will still be able to command the media’s attention, while those less in the spotlight will struggle for attention.

“With Twitter, anybody can announce a story,” she said.

The site functions as a way to share information in real time.

“Twitter has been a vital source of information, networking, guidance, real-time updates, community mutual aid, & more during hurricanes, wildfires, wars, outbreaks, terrorist attacks, mass shootings… etc,” tweeted University of Maryland researcher Caroline Orr.

“It’s not something that can be replaced by any existing platforms.”

For now, the solution for a potential Twitter alternative is not obvious.

“Facebook is valuable, but I think it’s almost a bit old fashioned,” Lister said.

Smaller Twitter competitors are likely to syphon off users, including Mastodon, which has grown in popularity since Musk purchased Twitter.

“But these will likely remain niche, with none of them becoming the public square that Twitter tries to create,” ASU’s Hass said.

He and North both listed Reddit as a possible substitute, though North said the forum-based network is limited by its fragmented and cluttered design that cannot replicate Twitter’s ease of use.

Could a replacement emerge? “Of course,” Lister added, but he noted such ingenuity takes enormous resources and significant time.

“You can’t just do it overnight.”

Trump Gets Warm Reception At Republican Gathering As Rivals Lash Out

 

Donald Trump received a standing ovation at a Republican Party gathering Saturday, even as several possible White House rivals lashed out at his election denialism and insisted it was time to move on from the former US president.

In his first major appearance since announcing his intention to run again in 2024, Trump told the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas that the party had grown under his leadership.

The 76-year-old falsely insisted once again that the 2020 presidential election — which he lost — was rigged, and rejected responsibility for the GOP’s poor performance in the November midterms.

In 2020 “we had a really disgraceful election, many millions of votes more than we had in 2016… and the result was, in my opinion, an absolute sham,” he told the audience by video link.

“The election as rigged, and it’s too bad it was.”

Asked about how he could improve the party’s appeal to suburban voters, among whom it did badly in this month’s midterms, Trump insisted he had a record of picking winners.

“In the midterms, as you’ve probably heard, I was 222 wins and 16 losses, the press doesn’t want to mention that, and the Republican Party got five million more votes than the Democrats,” he said, despite the final vote tallies not yet being finalized.

“The Republican Party is a much bigger and more powerful party than it was before I got there,” he said.

Trump was warmly welcomed by the crowd, which had earlier heard from key party figures whose names are often mentioned as possibly 2024 presidential contenders.

Many of them hit out at Trump’s grievance-laden style of politicking, which Republican Party operatives have said was to blame for their tepid showing on November 8.

‘Joy and a smile’

New Jersey’s former governor and one-time Trump confidante Chris Christie said candidate quality had been the issue.

“Donald Trump picked candidates with one criteria. Not electability, not experience, not wisdom, not charisma, not the ability to govern, but ‘do you believe the 2020 election was stolen or not?’ If you do I endorse you. If you don’t I reject you,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is the reason we’re losing is because Donald Trump has put himself before everybody else.”

Chris Sununu, governor of New Hampshire, agreed.

“I got a great policy for the Republican Party. Let’s stop supporting crazy unelectable candidates in our primaries,” he said.

On Friday evening, Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who is also understood to be mulling a run at the White House, urged fellow Republicans to be more forward-looking and more positive.

While he did not mention his old boss by name, Pompeo made none-too-subtle digs about the need to be doers, rather than complainers.

“As we present the conservative case, as we make the argument… we do so with joy, and a smile,” he said.

“We don’t simply rail against the machine… we don’t simply go on Fox News or send tweets, we actually do the hard work.”

Trump did not address the potential rivals in his appearance on Saturday, but has already begun his customary bomb-throwing about potential presidential competitors, dubbing Ron DeSantis, who is set to speak later Saturday, “Ron DeSanctimonious” and saying Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s name “sounds Chinese.”

The gathering, which also featured an address by Israel’s prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, runs until Sunday.

Elon Musk Gleeful As Twitter Users Vote On Reinstating Trump

Elon Musk and a Twitter illustration

 

Elon Musk expressed excitement Saturday as he watched votes pour in on a Twitter poll he has posted on whether to readmit Donald Trump to the messaging platform.

“Reinstate former President Trump,” the billionaire Twitter owner posted Friday, with a chance to vote either yes or no.

As of 2200 GMT Saturday, 51.8 percent of the more than 14 million responses were in favor of a return of the former president, who was banned from Twitter for his role in last year’s attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his followers seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Musk said the poll was drawing one million answers per hour.

“Fascinating to watch Twitter Trump poll!” Musk said Saturday morning in a blast of tweets from the controversial and hard-charging new owner of the one-to-many messaging platform.


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There was no indication that the mercurial boss of Space-X and Tesla would adhere to the results of the ad hoc poll.

But on Friday, Musk also posted a Latin adage suggesting that the decision would be up to Twitter users: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” (“The voice of the people is the voice of God”).

He has done similar polls in the past, asking followers last year if he should sell stock in his electric car company Tesla. Following that poll, he sold more than $1 billion in shares.

Trump, who reveled in using Twitter as a mouthpiece, was followed by more than 88 million users.

He has said he will not return to the popular platform but would instead remain on his own network, Truth Social, launched after he was banned from Twitter.

Appearing via video Saturday at a gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, Trump said he welcomed Musk’s poll, and was a fan of the man himself, but appeared to reject any return.

“I do like him… you know, he’s a character and again, I like characters,” he said.

“He did put up a poll and it was very overwhelming… but I have something called… Truth Social.”

As to whether he would return to the platform, he said: “I don’t see it because I don’t see any reason for it.”

Musk, also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has come under fire for radical changes at California-based Twitter, which he bought less than a month ago for $44 billion.

Since then, he fired half of Twitter’s 7,500 staff, scrapped a work-from-home policy and imposed long hours, all while his attempts to overhaul the company faced backlash and delays.

His stumbling attempts to revamp user verification with a controversial subscription service led to a slew of fake accounts and pranks, and prompted major advertisers to step away from the platform.

On Friday, Musk appeared to be pressing on with his plans and reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of comedian Kathy Griffin, which had been taken down after she impersonated him on the site.

The company’s offices were locked down Friday and hundreds of employees quit rather than yield to Musk’s demands that they resign themselves to working long, grueling days at the new Twitter.

Two WWII Planes Collide At Dallas Air Show

This image obtained from the twitter account @GollyItsMollie, shows smoke rising from the crash after two planes collided mid-air during the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport, in Dallas, Texas, on November 12, 2022.

 

Two World-War-II-era airplanes collided Saturday at an air show in Dallas, US authorities said, with social media footage showing the aircraft crashing into each other and hitting the ground with a fiery explosion.

It was not immediately clear how many people were in the two craft, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a smaller Bell P-63 Kingcobra, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Nor was it clear whether anyone survived the early afternoon crash, which occurred during the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport.

While the number of casualties was not immediately known, “no spectators or others on the ground were reported injured,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted.


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Multiple videos posted on social media showed dramatic scenes of the smaller plane descending towards the lower-flying B-17, crashing into it.

After the collision, the planes appeared to break up into several large pieces before crashing into the ground and exploding in a ball of fire, creating a huge plume of black smoke.

The crash scattered debris across the airport grounds as well as on a nearby highway and strip mall, Johnson said.

The FAA said its agents and the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate the incident.

“As many of you have now seen, we have had a terrible tragedy in our city today during an airshow. Many details remain unknown or unconfirmed at this time,” Johnson said.

The B-17, a four-engined bomber, played a major role in winning the air war against Germany in World War II. With a workhorse reputation, it became one of the most produced bombers ever.

The P-63 Kingcobra was a fighter aircraft developed during the same war by Bell Aircraft but it was used in combat only by the Soviet Air Force.

One of the last major crashes of a B-17 was on October 2, 2019, when seven people died in an accident at an airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

Twitter Chaos Deepens As Key Executives Quit

Elon Musk and a Twitter illustration

 

Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter descended deeper into chaos as key security executives resigned from the platform, drawing a sharp warning from US regulators.

The walkouts came after a turbulent launch of new Twitter features following the Tesla and SpaceX owner’s $44 billion buyout of the influential messaging app.

Musk warned employees Thursday that the site was burning through cash dangerously fast, raising the specter of bankruptcy if the situation was not turned around.

“I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter,” tweeted chief security officer Lea Kissner, who reportedly stepped down with other key privacy or security executives.

In the most extraordinary exit, US media reported that Yoel Roth — the site’s head of trust and safety — stepped down just a day after staunchly defending Musk’s content moderation policy to advertisers.

Late on Thursday, Roth’s Twitter bio identified him as “Former Head of Trust & Safety at @Twitter.”

Media reports had said Robin Wheeler, who held a key role linking Twitter with advertisers and was considered a key Musk ally inside the company, was leaving but late Thursday she tweeted: “I’m still here.”

The site’s update included a launch of the long-awaited Twitter Blue subscription service, which allowed users to pay $7.99 per month for a coveted blue tick, as well as a separate gray “official” badge for some high-profile accounts.

But on Wednesday Musk scrapped the new gray label almost immediately, overshadowing the launch of the paid service, which is only available on the mobile app on iPhones and in the United States.

The launch also saw the emergence of a flurry of fake accounts as users used the opportunity to impersonate celebrities and politicians such as NBA star LeBron James or former British prime minister Tony Blair.

‘Deep concern’

The chaos drew a rare warning from the Federal Trade Commission, the US authority overseeing consumer safety that had put Twitter under watch for past security and privacy breaches.

“We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern,” an FTC spokesperson said in a statement.

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees,” the spokesperson added, referring to past commitments by Twitter to obey US privacy rules.

Violating FTC decisions could cost Twitter millions of dollars in fines.

Musk fired half of the 7,500 employees of the California company a week ago, 10 days after buying the site and becoming its sole owner.

For the first time since the layoffs, the 51-year-old entrepreneur on Thursday addressed his remaining employees and urged them to help the site reach one billion users, according to employee text messages seen by AFP.

Musk also warned that the company was bleeding cash and expressed fear about the effects of the poor economy on his newly bought business.

“You may have noticed I sold a bunch of Tesla stock. The reason I did that is to save Twitter,” he is reported to have said.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives warned that the Twitter episode could have serious repercussions for electric car manufacturer Tesla.

“Brand destruction is our biggest worry with this Twitter circus show. It’s that simple and I can’t ignore it for Tesla stock,” Ives wrote on the site.

Twitter is also crippled by the decision of advertisers to stay away from the platform, concerned about Musk’s plans.

The tycoon announced he was ending work-from-home policies at Twitter, which had been a widespread practice at the San Francisco-based company.

“If you don’t show up at the office, resignation accepted,” he told employees.